SHAFAQNA – Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society Secretary General, Sheikh Ali Salman, called on the Bahraini King, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and his family to turn to the people to rid the country of its crisis.
In a long plea that was supposed to be delivered before the court on Wednesday May 20, 2015, Sheikh Salman stated: “We have tried to have a cooperative and creative spirit resulting from the 2001 agreement, yet it was a fruitless year. If we had continued with this agreement, we would have spared Bahrain from the current political and security crisis”.
Salman stressed in his plea: “From this courtroom, I call on the King of Bahrain to turn to the people as he did in 2001. A ruler becomes honorable, dignified and respected by his people”.
In this context, Salman addressed “the families and tribes, particularly the king’s family in order to take rapid action and agree on and contribute to making a change in the country.”
Salman faces four charges, including the charge of “promoting the overthrow and change of the political regime by force”. In his plea that he was prevented from delivering, Salman further stressed: “I am with developing the regime to a constitutional monarchy. I have never called for the downfall of the regime nor sought to do so.”
Salman considered that his trial is “malicious” and “lacks the bases of a fair trial”.
“If you only listen to one speech, you will realize the poor evidence that my trial is based on,” the opposition leader added.
Salman continued: “I frankly gave advice about the problems that Bahrain is suffering from to senior officials, namely the king since 2001;” stressing that, “despite promises to solve these problems, reality took a completely different turn”.
Salman also said that he presented a written plea to the court showing that “more than 30 quotes (which the court relied on as evidence) were intentionally cut off from my speeches.”
Al-Wefaq secretary-general renewed his call to the international community “to help Bahrain shift towards good governance.”
Salman reiterated that he will continue with his people “their peaceful struggle until freedom and equality is achieved,” stressing that “the demands of the Bahraini people will be achieved today and if not tomorrow”.
During a press conference, Salman’s defense team declared that “it is established that” the court is “targeting him because of his political action,” pointing out that “their requests to present a defense were met by unprecedented anger on the part of the judiciary”.
The defense team also stated that they were surprised by the court’s decision as neither Salman nor his team were allowed to deliver their plea, noting that at the beginning of the hearing, the prosecution demanded sentencing the opposition leader to “maximum punishment”.
The fourth criminal court presided over by Judge Ali Khalifa Al-Dhahrani with the membership of Judges Mohammad Jamal Awad and Hamad Bin Salman Al Khalifa, refused to hear the plea of Sheikh Ali Salman, and adjourned its verdict to June 16.
Sheikh Salman has been detained since December 28, 2014. The court refused requests for his release on bail and also refused the defense panel’s request to show videos containing recordings of Salman’s speeches. The court also rejected a request for Bahrain’s interior minister and the country’s head of general security to be called to testify.